At microscales to nanoscales, classical size effects in heat conduction play an important role in suppressing the thermal transport process. Such effects occur when the characteristic lengths become commensurate to the mean free paths (MFPs) of heat carriers that are mainly phonons for non-metallic crystals. Beyond existing experimental efforts on thin films using laser-induced thermal gratings, this work provides the theoretical analysis for a new approach to extract the effective phonon MFP distribution for the in-plane heat conduction within a thin film or flake-like sample. In this approach, nanoslots are patterned on a suspended thin film. Phonons will transport ballistically through the neck region between adjacent nanoslots if the phonon MFPs are much longer than the neck width. The associated ‘ballistic thermal resistance’ for varied neck dimensions can then be used to reconstruct the phonon MFP distribution within the film. The technique can be further extended to two-dimensional materials when the relaxation time approximation is reasonably accurate.
- Ballistic thermal resistance
- Mean free path reconstruction
- Thin film
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Materials Science
- Energy (miscellaneous)
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)